After getting off a completely packed out train to Reading, we wandered around following an obviously outdated map, which told us that The Face Bar was right in the middle of a block of flats. It wasn't. Then we spotted a girl in a Beatcast shirt so followed her hoping she would lead us to the venue (the whole event was being filmed by them) but turns out she was just going to get some food. Then we spotted a guy in a Tired Irie shirt, so we joined forces and found our venue. When we got there we were still early, and only a few of the bands were there, still getting stuff out of their cars.
After a bit of waiting outside or something we got in and Pharaohs started. They were okay, but their songs need some more lyrics I think, they seem to use a lot of the same lines. Also, I was confused by the frontman's jeans, they looked slightly tie-dyed and I couldn't quite tell if they were leggings.
Next up was Instruments (Make Music). If you've read this blog before then you might know that this band were written about briefly before here, so I was definitely looking forward to seeing them. And they didn't disappoint, they played a set consisting of a couple of songs from their self-titled EP and a couple of new ones. I was staring at both guitarists as they did things with their fingers I could only dream of. The drummer was pretty impressive. Bassist was great too, didn't want to leave her out. She looked nice too. I'm sad my photos of them didn't come out well. Or at all. Amazing band.
[Photo of Talons by me]
Hereford Six piece Talons followed. See Tom's post on them here. They impressed my friends who hadn't heard them before with their unique brand of epic post-rock/violins combo, and impressed those who had heard of them before. Their set ended with the guitarist jumping off the stage and falling around a bit, which I really wasn't expecting him to do but I still managed to get a photo of him. I would've bought one of their 7"s if only it wasn't £4. That's just too much for a 7". Who else remembers when HMV used to do those 'All 3 formats for £4' or whatever it was? They were good.
By this point we were a bit hungry so we trecked off down to Burger King and had some Whopper meals. Best thing about Whoppers is that they have 4 gherkins in them. When we got back we realised we had missed On Histories Of Rosenburg, and we were a bit sad because they sounded interesting, but at least we had eaten. Although when we got back in there, Hold Your Horse Is were playing, and we really wished we'd timed our eating so that we missed them instead. I thought they might've been okay, considering they were named after a Hella album, but they just seemed a big weak, and the bassist was wearing tracksuit bottoms which confused me a bit, and after about 3 seconds of their first song his bass strap fell off which made him look even more silly. Not great, sorry.
[Photo of Brontide @ Edge of the wedge, Portsmouth by me]
Brontide's set was plagued with technical difficulties that included loop pedals that wouldn't stop looping and basses that wouldn't start working. They still powered on, and the guitarist did his creepy nodding thing he does when he plays, and everyone nodded along with him. Having seen this band so many times now, I'm getting a little tired of the same setlist, a couple of new songs would be nice, but excluding what damage the tech problems caused, a good performance.
If this line up so far looks a little different to the flyer you saw around the internet, that's because about 6 of the bands ended up dropping out for one reason or another. The next band was one of the more pleasing replacements to me; Cats And Cats And Cats. Having never really given them a proper listen, seeing them at this gig really persuaded me to give them another go. They had a real twee indie pop vibe to them which was completely different to what i had imagined. Their violinist looked about 14 too, just another confusing thing about this day.
Danish band Mimas were the first of the two foreign bands playing, playing in a timeslot unofficially branded the foreign hour. I'd never really listened to them much before and never really registered the fact that they were a BSM band and I guess this was when i realised they're a really odd band to be on the label, but they sat nicely in the middle of a bunch of mathy bands as everyone seemed to dig the bouncy post-rock tunes. I hate the word tunes. But saying songs sounds a bit boring. Eh.
The second foreign band were Mutiny on the Bounty of Luxembourg. I'd seen them before and they were impressive so this was a bit of a treat. They did their mathy post-hardcore stuff which was a bit too loud for a few people, and it was pretty loud but if you know the songs then I guess loud music is good. The guitarist was really happy, probably because he was a bit drunk. Most of the bands were drinking a bit by this point, this dude was probably the happiest/drunkest. He was wearing a cowboy hat for a bit and another one of them was wearing a transformers mask. Dunno why.
[Photo of Shapes/Blakfish dude by me]
Shapes followed, I'd seen them the previous week on their tour with Brontide. They were energetic and explosive, mathy and intricate, etc etc. The dude with the beard from Blakfish did vox in one of their songs, see the photo above. Another photo of Shapes here. They played their new song from the BSM/Holy Roar split, but i'd still seen that exact set a week before, would've been nice for something a little different? Maybe I was just tired from standing around so much. Getting very excited for Blakfish by this point.
I was pessimistic about Youves; I liked them when they were Mirror! Mirror!, and had listened to their mini-album under the new name and wasn't sure about the change. But from what I saw of their set, they looked like they had a good time. The singer knew he was attractive and seemed to want everyone to know by dancing in the crowd with his shirt off. There was this really good moment where there was a pause in the music and he stamped on a balloon behind the audience. I didn't even realise he was there until he did it.
[Photo of Great Eskimo Hoax by me]
By the time Great Eskimo Hoax came on, a lot of people were leaving. I spotted the singer from This Town Needs Guns in the audience, was pretty cool that even though they weren't playing he still came along. GEH were really gentle and relieving, a bit of an odd thing to listen to before Blakfish. I really liked how I didn't know any of the songs they played, it made me pay a bit more attention I guess. I picked up a 7" they were selling. It cost £3, okay. It's from a couple of years ago, a split with a band called The Cape Of Good Hope, and they sound really good, which was a really nice surprise. Email me some of their songs please bros.
[Photo of Blakfish by me]
Whoever was still around for Blakfish were really hyped, and you could tell. They came on, the two front men obviously pretty drunk at this point. I'm guessing the skinny guy is a bit of an angry drunk. He had a go at everyone for staying around and when checking his tuning, simply strummed really hard and was like "That sounds like it's in fucking tune, doesn't it!". They only played about 6 songs from their debut album Champions, but they were all awesome. Loads of people singing along to pretty much all the songs, mostly on the amazingly titled 'Jeremy Kyle Is A Marked Man'. At one point the angry skinny guy got on his knees and pretended to suck off the dude next to me, for about a minute, got a bit weird. Later on, both guitarists attached sparklers to the end of their guitars, the dude next to me picked one of them up and held it in my face, that was annoying. Both their guitars seemed to get broken, at one point one the bearded guy's guitar completely went and one of their friends put another guitar in front of the guitar that he was already playing and put the strap on. Then he just kinda jumped on a table and had about 7 people playing his guitar.
[Photo of Blakfish by me]
The skinny dude was bleeding all over his vest by this point, and was like "Who wants some of my blood? If anyone wants any of my blood, come and see me afterwards". This show was messy. They ended on 'Ringo Starr - 2nd Best Drummer In The Beatles', with everyone chanting "it could be worse, you could be dead, I don't know how we survived but all I know is we did". It was a nice ending to an awesome gig, and everyone left the venue worrying about how they were gonna get home having stayed on and missed their last train home.
All my photos from the gig here.
MP3: Mutiny On The Bounty - 1, 2, 3, 4, I Declare a Thumb War
BUY: Mutiny On The Bounty - Danger Mouth CD
MP3: Youves - On Probation
BUY: Youves - Cardio-Vascular CD
MP3: Blakfish - Scotland's Worst Invention
BUY: Blakfish - Champions 12" or CD.